Start 2019 Strong: Tips for Prospective MBA Students


The time of year is quickly approaching when many of us begin looking ahead to the coming year. This is a great time to reflect on your recent accomplishments and set new personal and professional goals.

If one of your goals is to earn your MBA, you’ll want to start the new year strong. That means making a solid plan with actionable steps that will lead you toward the specific things you want to achieve.

Below are a few helpful tips to keep in mind as 2019 (and 2019's TCU MBA enrollment deadlines) hover on the horizon.

1. Just Start!

Don’t let another year go by without taking the steps you need to get your MBA. Select one or more MBA programs and research them to identify the ones that are the best fit for both your lifestyle and your career goals.

This is also a great time to augment your responsibilities and expand your role in your current position. By being bold, you'll not only gain invaluable experience — you’ll also make yourself a more attractive candidate to MBA admission committees.

2. Create a Plan

Set time aside to plan out the year ahead. Write out all the steps you need to take to prepare to enter an MBA program, such as deciding which schools to apply to, taking the GMAT, applying for scholarships and determining who will be the best people to ask for recommendations.

For each step, list out as many action items as you can think of that will be required to complete it. For example, taking the GMAT will include procuring study materials, taking practice tests and scheduling the actual exam.

3. Develop Your Personal Brand

As you create your plan, you’ll also want to think about not only what you want for your future, but also what you’ve already accomplished and who you are at this present moment.

Using this information, develop a personal brand statement of about 20-25 words that captures who you are now and who you aspire to be. Refer to the below list to get you started:

  • Write down the values you care most about
  • List your passions
  • Document your skills

Developing a personal brand statement will help you clarify why you want an MBA and how you plan to use it. Knowing and being confident in your personal brand will help immensely when completing applications, as well as during interviews. By being clear about who you are, where you see yourself in the future and how an MBA will help you get there, your application will stand out from the thousands that schools routinely receive.

4. Find Something to Create, Lead or Change

Find a way to lead, create or change something, whether at your job, in your community or in your personal life. Learning by doing is a great way to experience both personal and professional growth. Moreover, you’ll now be able to demonstrate that you are a leader and an innovator. Top MBA programs are looking for candidates who possess these qualities (and capabilities).

5. Invest in Key Relationships

No matter how busy life gets, it’s always important to make time to foster important relationships, both personal and professional. Spend quality time with the people that you care about doing things you enjoy, whether that means having dinner every week with your significant other at a favorite restaurant, scheduling weekly rounds of golf with your best friend or something else. Having a strong personal support network will go a long way in helping you succeed throughout the MBA application process, getting through your program and beyond.

On a professional level, carve out time on a regular basis to grow your relationship with current colleagues or partners and also seek to develop new mutually beneficial relationships through various networking outlets.

Implementing the tips above, as well as some of the suggestions offered by these former Neeley School of Business MBA candidates, will take commitment, discipline and excellent time management. But all of the effort will be well worth it, setting you up for a successful 2019.

While you research top MBA programs, be sure to investigate TCU’s Neeley School of Business graduate programs. Request more information about our programs or contact our Director of MBA Admissions, Peggy Conway, to schedule a consultation and discuss your future.

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